Observers described this as an ironic and convenient development since Lebanon has been debating the issue for months but sent the money the day Mohammad Chatah, the former Lebanese Minister of Finance was assassinated in downtown Beirut.
Al-Hayat daily reported that the financing was being sourced from the government budget reserve, since Hezbollah was opposed to funding the tribunal from the government’s current budget
Chatah’s death comes 20 days before Special Tribunal for Lebanon begins the trial of Hezbollah suspects over the 2005 assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri. Like Chatah, Hariri was also killed in a car bombing in downtown Beirut.
Former ISF chief Ashraf Rifi condemned Chatah’s assassination:
“To the criminal we say that they will not benefit from killing people and they will be tried by the STL.” A possible reference to the trial of the five Hezbollah members who are accused of being behind Hariri’s assassination.
Head of Future Movement parliamentary bloc and former PM Fouad Siniora said after March 14 meeting today at Hariri’s Center House that Chatah’s death should be referred to STL :
“Lebanon will not die. It will not surrender and it will remain even after our death more powerful than the criminals.” He said, adding that Chatah’s murder should be referred to STL.
“Chatah’s murderer is the same one who is targeting the Syrian people, Tripoli, and the heroes of Lebanon since 2004 and until this day.” Another reference to the Syrian regime and Hezbollah which is assisting the regime against in its battle against the rebels.
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